A Franck Muller classic makes its re-introduction.
It has been close to 80 years since the premiere of the Oscar-winning, Hollywood classic film Casablanca but it is safe to say that it still remains one of the must-watch movies for anyone who is interested in film. Even those who were born long after Casablanca stopped showing in theatres would have undoubtedly watched clips of the film or at the very least heard of its name. And one of those who was monumentally moved by Casablanca was none other than the eponymous founder of the brand – Franck Muller.
Set during World War II, Casablanca tells a tale of romance between Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund, a story that spans two cities of love: Paris and Casablanca. Whether it was the chemistry between actors Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, or the beautifully written lines and theme songs, the movie has become a cult classic and is considered one of the most popular Warner Brother’s movies ever made.
In fact, Franck Muller who watched the movie for the first time as a young gentleman was so enamoured with the film that he was immediately inspired to create a classic three-hand model in 1998 inspired by the many nuances of the film. The original watch christened The Cintrée Curvex Casablanca combined elegance and sportiness. The dial’s printed hour markers combined with diamond-shaped hands, and the hand-stitched calf leather strap combined with the polished tonneau case speaks to a style that was ahead of its time. It is also worth mentioning that the watch was one of the first in the industry at the time to apply lume on its numerals in such a bold way.
Now, 8 decades after the film, and 25 years since the first Franck Muller Casablanca watch, comes a brand new reinterpretation of this classic – the Franck Muller Vanguard Casablanca. As you can already deduce from its name, the watch takes the ethos of the original watch and modernises it for a contemporary audience. In essence, it takes 20th-century nostalgia and upgrades it with 21st-century sensibilities.
The first and perhaps not that obvious of a change is the case. The Vanguard Casablanca keeps the Tonneau shape of the Cintree Curvex case, which has since become a signature of the Franck Muller brand, but is redesigned with the dynamism of the Vanguard collection. The brand has created a new V 43 case within the Vanguard collection for this watch measuring 42.5 mm in width, a size that has long been requested by enthusiasts in the region, and is an exclusive to Southeast Asia. This gives the watch a strong presence on the wrist without it becoming too pronounced, keeping the combination of sophistication and sportiness of the original.
The design of the numerals has also been updated with the Vanguard Casablanca. The Art Deco-inspired numerals were designed to be straight and arched at the same time, and oversized hour markers were added to increase legibility. Just as lume was an important part of the original, the new version comes with C3 Super-LumiNova – a non-ageing, ultra-high brightness lume that is applied on the hands and indices. Additionally, the designers have also added a compass on the inner bezel of the watch in keeping with the pervasive travel element found throughout the film.
Underneath its exterior, the watch has also been updated with a modern Franck Muller movement, the calibre MVT FM 800-DT, with a level of finishing that has become synonymous with the brand. This includes Côtes de Genève patterns, circular graining, sunray brushing and chamfering on the numerous parts of the movement.
The Franck Muller Vanguard Casablanca comes in four colourways inspired by the movie and the city itself including black, brown, and salmon. A fourth option in a black dial and blue numerals is available at Franck Muller boutiques across the region. The collection also features a choice of three-hand or chronograph movements. Garrik Low, General Manager of Franck Muller, remarks “We’ve developed a brand new case size that bears the distinctive style and codes of the brand, and that our collectors have desired for a long time.”
The wallet-friendly price tag of the Franck Muller Vanguard Casablanca makes it an incredibly appealing option not only for new or younger watch collectors but also a great entry point into the Franck Muller world. It is, after all, a watch born from the mind of the founder himself, inspired by one of the greatest movies of all time. If anything, it is worth adding this to your collection just so you can open your watch box and go “here’s looking at you, kid.”